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About This Zone

This is a club for those who love to shoot film, including 35mm, medium and large formats. Discussions should be centred around gear, techniques, darkroom, printing, etc. Everything analog!

  1. What's new in this zone
  2. I built a guitar once - in 1975. Being that I like to make nice sounds from a guitar, I'll stick to letting proper luthiers do that job - as far as making music goes that thing made a good sledge hammer. Cameras make more sense to me - they're basically simple things when you leave such stuff as shutter clockwork and inbuilt meters out of it (although I have managed to resurrect a couple of non-functioning meters and un-jam a couple of mechanical shutters in recent times). While the Scovill looks ridiculous on the Gitzo tripod, it really isn't very heavy at all with almost no metal in it, and even with the temporary double bellows it falls well below the RRS ball-head's load limit. I guess that simplicity is part of the reason I've been able to expose two well-exposed test images on two separate occasions on four sheets of (expired) paper straight off the cuff a mere 135-odd years after it was built. Funny thing is that the house and schoolhouse behind in shot were exactly contemporary with the camera and lens, all were built between 1880 and 1887, and the Thornton Pickard and chair are literally modern by comparison (useless, irrelevant fact... ) Once I deduce where that dark-slide light leak came from (visible on the chair's turned arm support) on one neg and not the other, I'll be able to declare this revolting looking camera as serviceable again. Note that I took no precautions at all to shield anything from the light, and the late afternoon location faced west into an open, if slightly overcast sky with the sun well and truly in direct line (if behind) said light cloud cover, as can be seen by the soft shadows in the situation shot. I had left the dark-slide lying uncovered on the decking while setting up the camera, which I would never do under normal circumstances, but this exercise was meant to expose flaws rather than produce an memorable shot. I chose that subject and spot because of all the red paint on the railings and the mahogany red-yellow camera woodwork and yellow brass, along with green vegetation just to see just how much tonal distortion the predominantly blue-green sensitive emulsion of Ilford Multigrade paper would produce with the contrast-reducing Y2 filter on the lens shifting sensitivity to wards the green and effectively killing UV & blue. Using the paper outdoors without that filter renders images that are so contrasty they're effectively tone dropouts, where anything reflecting UV or blue gets overexposed by several stops compared with the rest of the spectrum, so the filter is now well secured into that lens (there being no such modern facility as filter threads, of course).
  3. Careful Chris, I seem to remember that Alan is already interested in musical instruments (including guitars)!
  4. Fascinating to follow your project. It does look a little bit top heavy on the modern tripod, although looks are probably deceptive. I have a friend who regularly posts updates on the building and rebuilding of guitars - something else that is fascinating to watch when someone else is doing the work, but not something I could ever manage. Perhaps something that would interest you if you want a break from cameras.
  5. You can bring a horse to the water, but you can't make him drink.
  6. I reckon a Therapist would consider this project therapy in itself, Dallas. On seeking clues on bellows making, a little by-line came up declaring that bellows with right-angled folds are the most difficult to make (as in those on the Scovill), whereas the practice pattern I downloaded had 45 degree folds (as on the Thornton Pickard) and that was then deceptively easy as a consequence. Of course it took me too long to realise this difference, and that the pattern I made up for the Scovill was based on the 45 degree folds pattern I had used as a practice example. I'm drawing a blank on finding reference as to how to modify this (if at all) to enable the 90 degree corners needed for the Scovill. Could be that the Scovill will have to be called a completed project now, and maybe I try to get a "proper" whole plate camera and go down that route. I do like the format size, though, and multigrade paper in that size is readily available from Ilford still. I also would like to put that lens to good use - it is too big to fit the front standard of the TP so I can't use it with the equipment I have at the moment, unfortunately.
  7. Kudos to you on your determination, Alan. I would have probably been sent for therapy by now if I had even attempted such a project.
  8. Well things have progressed, and regressed, with the old Scovill. I'm still going to need experience in making bellows - the materials I've sourced were not ideal and I'll have to dig a bit deeper and get some proper book-binding leather and more appropriate stiffening board and internal lining material, but the three failed attempts with what I had were an "interesting" experience, to say the least. I'm still struggling with getting measurements exact enough to replace the original bellows with an identical copy, (the fit has to be exact) as the originals really are shot beyond salvation - completely rotted on all seams. |In the interim I've used my initial failure (which was too large) as a sort of "exo-bellows) fitted over the original bellows, so at least the camera is now light tight. The double dark-slide, on the other hand, revealed that it has at least one light leak in a trial photo today - at least it appears to be the dark-slide - I took two exposures and one had the leak, the other not, which would indicate that the problem lies with the film holder and not the camera. The lens is interesting, I measure its FL at 180 mm, and as such it vignettes as one approaches infinity focus, of course, but at a portrait distance it covers the whole frame whilst displaying a quite pleasing Petzval image softness and field of focus curvature, with an equally pleasing out-of-focus background rendering even at two "stops" down. As for the stops, I'm guessing still at this stage, but I'm assuming the numbers 1 through 5 are in relation to Waterhouse stops, each diameter being half that of the preceding, rather than passing half the light, which therefore probably means each step is around two stops in the f/ scale, which appears to be borne out with my shots today - meter was 1.5 secs @ f/4.5, (stop #1), which translated to +4 f/ stops = 24 secs at "stop" # 3 (f/16-22), which returned an exposure that was bang on the money. The nice thing about using printing paper as the negative is that at these exposure times there is little need to be bothered about reciprocity failure, although I did factor in bellows extension. Here's the shot I took with the whole-plate Scovill of my Thornton Pickard "Imperial" half-plate camera chillin' on the verandah: and the setup below with what has to be the ugliest camera ever as the active participant: The stamp on the back (and the "American Optical Company" stamp on the accompanying dark-slide) in concert date the camera to mid-1880's, but before 1887, and it appears to be the most basic first tier "Waterbury" model of the Scovill lineup (tier two and three of quality meant varnished mahogany and bright brass fittings as standard as opposed to this rough, single-coat of black paint on a sycamore chassis). The ground glass I made new from a glass off-cut and ground by hand in about 10 minutes using #400 silicone carbide powder, some water and a piece of glass glued to a cork sanding block as the grinding tool. The result is every bit as good as a commercial ground glass that would probably have cost a couple of hundred bucks. Shown below is unbranded Petzval lens (probably mid-1870's - 80's) and my amateurish "exo"-bellows attempt, along with an in-front-of-lens shutter (inst., T & Open settings) that I've had since 1982, and which came with the 1920's Görlitzer Camera Works half plate studio camera I've used on and off over the years for portraiture. The evenly spaced "stop" markings on the barrel are the clue to the aperture being based on the Waterhouse stops. I couldn't resist polishing what little brasswork there was on the camera, either, which had originally been painted black.
  9. Always love your LF works, Allan! Even a Gulliver's cellphone would be too small to integrate the sensor of that size. 🙄
  10. My entire kit is partally visible on the ground just behind his left thigh - a Manfrotto CF Tripod and a Kata Bumblebee backpack with the camera, lens and meter in the lower compartment and four loaded double-dark slides in the upper compartment, and with the camera gear being made mostly of Mahogany, the loaded pack is the lightest its ever been. As for the 20" x 24" camera, he built it himself (with the aid of a CNC machine) for his submission for a Masters (Honours) to his Batchelor of Fine Arts Degree, and most of the parts for which he sourced through his job at the South Hobart Tip Shop. He's the guy that has supplied me with more than a few photographic bargains such as the Olympus OM-1, two lenses & a small Mecablitz flash in a small Tamrac bag all in working order (yes, someone actually threw that away, with the last sale receipt still in the bag dated 1996 from a camera store in Portland, Oregon, with it being anybody's guess as to how it ended up at a tip in southern Tasmania), and a complete set of three Multiblitz Minilight 150 flash heads, stands and brollies which make superb little fill or hair-lights in studio setups, and all of which didn't cost me much over the equivalent of US $50 in total for both the camera and flash outfits.
  11. I guess the group shot is all of the people required to carry that gear into the forest. 😀 Which was the smaller load - the other guys big camera or your Thornton Pickard and Pentacon kit? I'd love to get back to giving film a try, but it is a struggle to fit it in - its hard for me to find time just for digital stuff. Add to that the fact I'm not sure I can get enough keepers from a roll of film, never mind a few sheets of paper the size you shoot.
  12. Unfortunately I can't see them - I see the top 50 pixels or so and then it just stops loading.
  13. Mega "pickles", bit of an acid comment Alan! Not exactly a pocket camera is it. 😉
  14. I wouldn't even begin to guess at the number of "equivalent" Megapickles involved here (20" x 24" paper neg): I was a bit more conservative, also using photographic paper as a neg, but a more practical 6½" x 4¾" half plate Thornton Pickard for a group shot at the same occasion.
  15. Adding a side-note to the original post - I managed to get Vuescan to override whatever inbuilt and obsolete 30,000px limit that EpsonScan saddles its V700Photo with, and did a full resolution (4800dpi) scan of the above paper neg, and it reminds me once more just what we lost with film when speed became the overriding attributes and 25 ISO, and later 50 ISO B&W film ended up as the slowest available. Scanning the paper neg, on the other hand, failed to reveal any discernible grain in the ~1.5 ISO paper emulsion, rather the texture of the pearl surface of the paper was the thing that became evident rather than grain (I'll be getting fresh gloss surface paper which should avoid this when my supplier re-opens after the holidays). At this resolution, the final image was just over 40,000 x 30,000px, or 1.225 Terrapixels. And people are getting all excited by high-end digital cameras that now deliver a 'massive' 100 Megapixels. So at the file's native resolution, and at Epson printer native resolution of 360dpi, this would deliver a 111.7" (283.8cm) x 84.6" (215cm) print at the same image quality as 100MP files printed at 30"x20" @ 360dpi, if my calculkations are correct. Totally impractical with today's printing hardware, but an interesting thing to contemplate all the same. The 16-bit grayscale Tiff file is 2.28GB, by the way.
  16. Simple tailboard cameras are easy enough to make as is demonstrated by this old agricultural thing I've just got working again, but the bellows are just tedious to construct, and I reckon a lot of the time it's easier to buy an old field camera where you get factory machined parts and bellows as well as a reasonably comprehensive array of movements all included. There were quite a few whole plate field cameras on eBay towards the end of last year, and I almost bought into one of those, but commonsense (I thought at the time) got the better of me. As the Scovill didn't cost me cash money, it was worth trying to get it going with the Petzval lens adapted to it for effectively nothing, I thought. That is, of course, until the Scovill introduced me to whole plate format, and with 6½ x 8½" paper still available from Ilford and fresh negative material being easy to come by, the size seems perfect to me. Surprisingly nowhere near as cumbersome as 8x10, but substantially larger than half plate, and to a degree that I hadn't thought would make much difference originally. I can honestly say that it seems to be just perfect for my uses, and I'll be on the lookout for a whole plate field camera to which I can fit this Petzval lens (it's too large for any Thornton Pickard front standard that I've seen, but the old Wista/Toyo Japanese field cameras seem to be big enough. The main problem with whole plate cameras seems to be the film holders - many still have the fittings for the old wooden "book-type" double-dark holders, but rarely come with the correct holder which manufacturers seemed to make to exclusively fit their camera and no others. Now I've just got to wait for a serviceable and well-priced one to come up for sale, preferably one that has a spring back and takes standard double dark slides. The counter-balancing good thing is of course that obsolete Japanese whole plate cameras are substantially cheaper than their current format counterparts. The lenses are a different matter, but this old Petzval is an absolute corker, and delivers exactly the image characteristics I've been looking for, so I no longer need a new lens as well.
  17. OK - I have been lazy. Googling "large format camera plans" brings up a plethora of plans. I liked this one: https://petapixel.com/2017/10/24/building-8x10-large-format-camera-entirely-hand/
  18. Alan, in relooking at your post and the description of how you brought this old timer back to life, I have started to wonder if there are plans out there to built a similar such camera from scratch? OK, a camera with tilts, rotations, and shifts & lifts might be a little trickier, but the Scovill doesn't have these features, so the excercise should boil down to mainly woodwork with some metal work. Does anyone know of such plans?
  19. Thanks, Akira, I agree totally re:subject authenticity. I just needed something that was long enough to straddle the middle 2/3 of the frame to give an idea of field curvature along with focus falloff, and something that also had a circle roughly the size of a human head to see how that would fit into the acceptably sharp zone. The banjo was the obvious choice, both from sort-of looking the part and being the right size, plus I don't think any of my acoustic or electric guitars would have suited the shot or size requirements at all.
  20. Great restoration work, Alan! The resulted image would look historically appropriate for the camera, if the banjo would be of a fretless minstrel type. 😀
  21. Once I had Kiev-6C. I really liked the device. All I completed in it was loosening the mirror return spring (reducing cotton and eliminating rebound) and exchanging the paralon damper (which takes the impact of the mirror on itself) with a foam rubber damper, giving it a certain beveled profile so that it catches the mirror gently. Then my friend persuaded me to sell him this device. I still regret it. Despite the external absurdity, the camera was highly reliable and simple. Ah, yes, I also rewound it to him and he didn’t shoot 12 frames on 13 standard films on me. In this case, the gap between the frames decreased from 6 mm to 2 mm.
  22. Mike, For now I have just one lens, the Leica Summicron-TL f./2, 23 mm. I had a Leica Q up to recently, but gave it to Daughter #2, who is a better photographer than I am.
  23. Thanks, Vivion. Luckily such agricultural construction as this camera was easy to work on - everything is big, rough and crude, and looks more like something out of a high school woodworking class.
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