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Once more into the breech...


Alan7140

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Alan7140

I was given this 5" x 7" format Premo Pony No.7 camera (a.k.a. Kodak Pony), literally a pile of junk which looked like it had spent much of its life under a pile of garbage somewhere, sans lens and with broken ground glass, and which thus immediately became a no-cost challenge for me... :D 

 

31jFwXr.jpg

 

Stage one complete, and if successful in restoration it will give me a large format camera for which freshly made film is available (provided I can find darkslides to suit and a lens/shutter combination that will fit the small front standard). If it proves impractical for use, as I said to the donor, it'll not be a waste of time as it will simply be a much prettier pile of junk on completion.

 

kjOEEcr.jpg

 

We'll see in a week or two if I have indeed bitten off more than I can chew this time. :D 

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I was given this 5" x 7" format Premo Pony No.7 camera (a.k.a. Kodak Pony), literally a pile of junk which looked like it had spent much of its life under a pile of garbage somewhere, sans lens and wi

The Internet is marvellous (sometimes) - my online musings on the difficulty of finding a 5"x7" double darkslide to fit the camera was answered within a few hours by an exchange offer of a practically

...and here's the first photo from the Pony Premo with its new bellows and Schneider-Kreuznach 5,6/180 lens, taken at a local farm just across the river from my place this morning of a rockpool (below

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Well, on the bright side maybe you have found a career extension in restoring the things people make photos with instead of the photos themselves. :) 

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Alan7140
2 hours ago, Dallas said:

Well, on the bright side maybe you have found a career extension in restoring the things people make photos with instead of the photos themselves. :) 

 

I'm definitely only doing this with the full intent of actually using the things to take photos with myself, though. This one was offered up as a response to me mentioning that I'd like to adapt one of my half-plate cameras to use 5"x7" back, but was having trouble finding a suitable back. To fix this one up to make a usable 5"x7" camera made more sense than hacking a Thornton Pickard (being bigger than half plate meant that I'd have to physically alter the rear standard of a TP which was not something I really wanted to do), but now that it's in bits and with neither a shuttered lens or 5"x7" darkslides to fit this Pony No.7's film back I'm not sure I'm on a winning trajectory with this camera, either.

 

Even though I've fixed both Thornton Pickard shutters now, they won't physically fit the small front standard of the Pony so I won't be able to shortcut by using one of the TP lenses & shutter, and a shutter will be necessary when using film, I fear. Even with paper negs at 3 ISO I'm frequently having to use shutter speeds as short as one or two seconds, which is dicing with ruining shots through vibration/camera shake when using a lens cap as the shutter.

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Rather you than me. I'm all thumbs when it comes to fiddly things like that, but kudos for doing what you're doing. I wonder if some of the parts could be 3D printed successfully? 

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Another interesting project - I’m sure you’ll come up with something to get it working.  Whilst not authentic, 3D printed parts might at least get you working until the real parts come along.  3D printing is pretty widely available now, at least in Melbourne - even places like Officeworks and some libraries have them.

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Alan7140
7 hours ago, Dallas said:

Rather you than me. I'm all thumbs when it comes to fiddly things like that, but kudos for doing what you're doing. I wonder if some of the parts could be 3D printed successfully? 

 

Fortunately there was only one part missing, one of the front standard's folding support strut's locking arm - if the opposite side's arm doesn't do the job properly I'll probably hand-fabricate the part from a piece of brass plate, which will take a while but maybe not any longer than trying to organise the design and printing of the part at an establishment that does metal 3-d printing (not to mention that doing it the hard way will be infinitely cheaper - free actually, as I have enough brass left over from the brackets I made up for one of the other cameras to make a mirror image of the part).

 

The part has some bends and a little guide pin that slides up a slot in the support arm which does the locking - it appears to be nickel or chrome plated brass rather than steel as there is no rust bubbling under the plating where there are a couple of minor scratches. It's just the pin's attachment that might give me a headache - it's small and the bracket is only 2mm thick that it's attached at right angles onto - it appears to be sweated on under heat and pressure and not drilled right through, but I'll work something out. The rest will just be some careful cutting of the brass and a lot of Dremel shaping work, I think.

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Hugh_3170

The other possibility is laser metal cutting, which is certainly also available in Melbourne - probably in Tasmania as well.  One needs to draw the parts required on a CAD package that can output the required machine codes/instructions for the machines of the organisation doing the cutting.  The model engineering fraternity have been using laser cutting of metal parts for quite some time now.  Certainly if one was building a folding camera from scratch this would be the way to go.  Cutting steel up to 6mm thick is a cinch.  Accuracy is around 0.1mm and repeatability is not an issue.  For just one or two parts, Alan's cutting by hand should be fine, but laser cutting is worth keeping in mind for bigger projects with many parts to be cut.

 

Alan - another great project BTW.  I am sure that you will prevail! 🙂

 

 

On 28/11/2020 at 12:05, crowecg said:

Another interesting project - I’m sure you’ll come up with something to get it working.  Whilst not authentic, 3D printed parts might at least get you working until the real parts come along.  3D printing is pretty widely available now, at least in Melbourne - even places like Officeworks and some libraries have them.

 

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Alan7140
On 29/11/2020 at 20:22, Hugh_3170 said:

 

Alan - another great project BTW.  I am sure that you will prevail! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Hugh, it's coming along nicely. The camera will be fully usable with the proviso that I can find a 5x7 double-darkslide or two that'll fit from a vendor who doesn't want the thing's weight in gold as a selling price, and whether I decide to shell out a large amount of cash to buy a decent lens & shutter combo to fit the thing rather than some hazy rubbish from the unsold left-overs from a yard sale. Alternatively I could try to adapt one of my Thornton Pickard lenses with its now-working shutter to the camera, but that will necessitate removing the token viewfinder rendered useless by its perished mirror from the front standard which would be a one-way modification as it's riveted on. 

 

Another thing causing me to take stock is that I'm doing this in order to be able to use film rather than paper negatives given that 5" x 7" film is still available (unlike half-plate size film), however the effective cost of $A7.80 per sheet might be a bit of an impediment ($A190 per box of 25 delivered).

 

The missing part won't be a problem, it seems that one of the pair of locking arms being removed was a common thing for this camera, presumably being a nod to ease of operation as it requires both hands to unlock the pair at one time, their sole purpose being to allow the bed to be dropped if using a wide-angle lens, so seldom used, if at all. One can easily do the job, two is just for symmetry, I guess.

 

I'd like this to be my final hibernation project, though, next year I'd like to get back to teaching, something Covid restrictions rendered impossible this year given the confines of the darkroom.

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Alan7140

OK, it's done (with a new lensboard to hold a non-functional Thornton Pickard-Beck lens for display purposes. Now for a working lens & shutter, and a couple of 5"x7" darkslides and it'll be a fully serviceable camera again, and I intend to use it as such. :)

 

OZnEIdf.jpg

 

M3ZlVGj.jpg

 

FoSgN04.jpg

 

itCoAf4.jpg

 

lQ156mN.jpg

 

lyHLpRa.jpg

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Hugh_3170

Wow - well done! 

 

Alan I am now totally convinced that you did not waste your chilhood!  Great stuff.  👏

 

Will you look for a period lens or go for a modern one?

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Alan7140
1 hour ago, Hugh_3170 said:

Wow - well done! 

 

Alan I am now totally convinced that you did not waste your chilhood!  Great stuff.  👏

 

Will you look for a period lens or go for a modern one?

 

I'm presently toying with making an adapter to mount my good Thornton Pickard-Beck lens with its now-operational TP shutter onto this camera to see if this is practical - it will require removing the "waist level" Premo finder from its position which will be a permanent mod as it's riveted on, and relocating it to the same spot on the baseboard that Pony Premo's Nos 1 through 6 have it, but if/when I find a mirror to fit as the original's silvering has perished beyond redemption.

 

Should that work I'll still keep looking for a lens that is of more modern design and manufacture and with a more sophisticated shutter, but within the bounds of keeping this as one of the cheapest cameras I've ever owned, yet one of the most expensive cameras to buy in its day. 🙂

 

This has been a bit like the photographer's equivalent of a car enthusiast's barn find of a 1911 Rolls Royce and being given it gratis by the farmer who needs the space more than the car. 😊 (This No.7 model sold in the US for $60-75 at the time Thornton Pickard "Imperial" half plate triple extension outfit - camera, lens, shutter, tripod and three double darkslides sold in the UK for 11 shillings!) 

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Hugh_3170

Love the price and automotive comparisons.  Good luck with your lens search.

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Alan7140

A bit more work and I've made an adapter to mount one of the Thornton Pickard shutters (with TP lens) that I recently restored to working condition. So all that's needed now is a 5x7 double darkslide or two and some 5x7 film and the camera should be operational at the required sub-second shutter speeds that 100 ISO will call for.

 

First couple of photos are of the camera with lens & shutter mounted to the adapter, which in turn is mounted/dismounted using the camera's standard lens board mount and catch. I did have to remove the little auxiliary viewfinder that had been mounted to the top of one of the front standard's uprights in order to fit an adapter that would mount a TP shutter, and as can be seen I relocated that to the baseboard where all the other Premo Pony cameras model 1 through 6 had mounted it as standard. I have no idea why Premo/Kodak decided to mount it on the front standard for this second-to-top-of-the-line Pony Premos, as the thing moves further away from the operator the closer you focus so you'd have to move to the side of the camera to look through it, which seems a silly situation to me. Mounted on the baseboard it's always in the same spot.

 

P8kNPq8.jpg

 

ncikSho.jpg

 

This last photo is just of the adapter itself mounted, with shutter/lens combo removed

GVMsBgM.jpg

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Hugh_3170

Kudos Alan - a great outcome - something that you should be proud of.

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Alan7140

The Internet is marvellous (sometimes) - my online musings on the difficulty of finding a 5"x7" double darkslide to fit the camera was answered within a few hours by an exchange offer of a practically unused c.1970's Lisco Regal DD in exchange for me rebuilding a Thornton Pickard shutter. So I picked both up yesterday from a local address - and somehow I also picked up a similarly unused Praktica Nova 1b and a Minolta X300 35mm camera for use if/when I get people back into the darkroom to resume B&W film tuition into the bargain as well). Today I drove up the road today on a warm, cloudless day in full mid-summer sun to test both the camera and darkslide for light-fastness in an exposed position using a paper negative before I take the plunge and buy fresh film.

 

Looks like the final test was passed, no light leaks at all even though I left the camera with slide pulled for at least 5 minutes to make sure. I muffed the exposure on the well-and-truly out of date paper, but damned if I don't really like the result!

 

Ellendale Anglican Church (1889), Southern Tasmania:

 

fz5sqLL.jpg

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Alan7140

Update.... I finally got up the courage to build a new set of bellows for the Pony Premo. While the old bellows had been light-tight after some taping they kept developing new light leaks as their 110-year-old age made their fragile nature more and more evident. Along with having acquired two 5"x7" double-dark slides to enable the use of film, it became evident that using 125 ISO film negative material as opposed to the 3 ISO of the paper negatives I have been using would make using these bellows even more risky, so the decision was made.

 

The job was not easy - the bellows not only had different widths for the sides in relation to the top and bottom, but several changes in the height of the folds to alter the pitch of their taper in order to avoid snagging fittings as the bellows were pulled back. Several paper models and numerous templates were cut until I finally proceeded. Unfortunately I have been unable to find material thin enough to enable the bellows to be folded back completely into the camera and enable it to be folded for transport, so ultimately I guess there will still be another bellows to build in future if/when I find material to fit the bill.

 

I also picked up a 1966 Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar convertible 5,6/180 - 12/315 lens in Compur shutter mounted on a Wista lens board for a bargain price on ebay, so I filed the mount down to fit the Premo lens panel and it mounts as if it was designed to do so without the need for an adapter. Last but not least I also got around to fabricating a replacement for the missing locking stay for the main bed support which has made the whole camera much more solid when set up for use.

 

Now all I have to do is wait for the box of Ilford 100 Delta I found at half price on ebay to arrive, and we'll see if the whole exercise was really worth it. :)

 

GAV5SVD.jpg

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crowecg

Looks amazing.  Looking forward to seeing the results of shooting with it.

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CarreraS

Fantastic work ! If I ever need an ancient camera .. 👍

 

Even my F5 is put into the weeds by these !

 

cheers, Maurice

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"Wild things are always faster"

from 'Two Dogs' by Philip Hodgins

Wild-Things@btconnect.com

www.Wild-Things-Photography.com

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Alan7140

...and here's the first photo from the Pony Premo with its new bellows and Schneider-Kreuznach 5,6/180 lens, taken at a local farm just across the river from my place this morning of a rockpool (below what is sometimes a waterfall in very wet weather, but just a trickle this morning) on the Allenvale Rivulet, Derwent Valley, Southern Tasmania.

 

Ilford Multigrade V glossy RC paper negative, processed in Ilford Multigrade paper developer, and digitised by stitching three segments taken with a Sigma sd Quattro H camera and Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro lens mounted on an MP4 copy stand. 

 

Just this single shot taken to test the new bellows for light-tightness, which it passed with flying colours. Exposure was 12sec @ f/16-22 on a mildly overcast mid-morning summer's day.

 

h92AMHz.jpg

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CarreraS

Really nice, Alan ! Love the texture of the rocks and the waterline detail ..

 

I'd hate to pay for a replacement S-K lens, their Cinema FF 18mm T2.4 Lens with Nikon F Mount (first new samplee I found) is on sale here for £5.5K .. their T/S lenses are pretty highly rated .. 👱‍♂️

"Wild things are always faster"

from 'Two Dogs' by Philip Hodgins

Wild-Things@btconnect.com

www.Wild-Things-Photography.com

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Alan7140
13 hours ago, CarreraS said:

Really nice, Alan ! Love the texture of the rocks and the waterline detail ..

 

I'd hate to pay for a replacement S-K lens, their Cinema FF 18mm T2.4 Lens with Nikon F Mount (first new samplee I found) is on sale here for £5.5K .. their T/S lenses are pretty highly rated .. 👱‍♂️

 

Thanks, Maurice. I paid just AU$166 (US129) for that S-K lens!

Sometimes you can still find a bargain of ebay, it seems, particularly when the lens was made for what the majority consider to be redundant formats. :)

 

Being a convertible lens, removing the front element group from the shutter ends up with a perfectly usable, if a bit slow, 315mm f/12 optic. So effectively two S-K lenses for that ridiculously low price, including lens board and Compur shutter (the shutter is like new as well, blades perfectly clean and free of oil, all speeds working as they should. Given its age (1966) I'll forgive the slightest amount of haze, and the almost mandatory "Schneideritis" spots in the paint of the inner barrel of the front element group, the latter having no impact at all on the images, the haze does soften things ever so slightly when a very bright background is involved. Like most things though, none of this is of any consequence if using the equipment within its known limitations.

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Today I was treated to a very calm, overcast morning, so I took the Pony Premo up to the old farmstead outhouse (c.1842 build), having further modified the camera by removing and re-attaching the bellows differently after pressing it in my Ademco 2125 press for 24hours, along with removing what I considered to be redundant rails which appeared to have no purpose other than making the front standard easier to fold into the camera - but at the expense of a few mm of depth, and took the following photo using Ilford MGIV paper for the negative of this curious old commode which long ago had a bush take seed in the shingles of the roof , grow to maturity, send roots down the walls in a fruitless quest for water, and eventually die a few years ago.

 

I think I like the end result. :)

 

HXcleC8.jpg

 

The camera is both convenient to use and mounts solidly on my Gitzo tripod, and it folds up well now for transport with a Velcro strap holding it firmly shut in place of the missing side catches.

 

meIySt5.jpg   

 

mA4IUF2.jpg

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CarreraS

#1 Commode ! You mean a dunny ? But unlikely to be stone built in the rest of Australia .. There's a fair few buildings in that state around me in Herefordshire, despite the price of land, farming incomes are quite low. But that ones quite photogenic !

#2 Who's that old bloke asleep under his hat ?

#2 & '#3 that camera is an absolute work of art, your bellows is perfect, and that lens really looks the business !

 

From what you've said, this camera was much more expensive than your beloved T-Ps, and its great to see properly jointed woodwork (especially considering where you started), but was this the Hasselblad or Leica of the day ? Just curious ..

 

cheers, Maurice

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"Wild things are always faster"

from 'Two Dogs' by Philip Hodgins

Wild-Things@btconnect.com

www.Wild-Things-Photography.com

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