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Friday, August 31

5x4 DIY Project - part two

Well, I can breathe a sigh of relief now. The whole thing fits together quite well. With about 12 holes to drill, there was always the chance that one or two of them wouldn't be in exactly the right place - and so it proved. I had to enlarge a couple to get everything to line up but, overall, I'm very pleased. The end result is a fully-functional 5x4 camera that weighs just a shade under 4 lbs - including lens. That's about as light as a large format camera gets. The all-up cost, not including the 5x4 back that I already had, is about £30.

I was a bit worried that there might be a light leak or two around the adaptor plate I had to make so I cut two "gaskets" from black darkroom blind material and sandwiched them either side of the adaptor. Can't see there being any problems on that score. I have to say that the 5x4 back, now attached to the camera's original focusing screen frame, slides in and out of the grooves on the rear of the camera very smoothly indeed. The whole set up feels right and not like something that's been cobbled together at all.

I haven't exposed any film yet so there might be one or two difficulties ahead but the bellows look light tight from what I can tell and any bright spots in the light path will be painted over with matt black enamel. The added depth of the 5x4 back has thrown the infinity stop out of kilter, though. In its original configuration, you would pull out the lens standard until it hit the infinity stop at which point it would go no further. A little knurled focusing wheel then moves the focusing rack out when photographing closer subjects. Now, the lens standard stops about an inch too far away from the new film plane so an allowance has to be made for that. It looks to me as if there is a little hole drilled in the focusing rack that a prong on the underside of the lens standard drops into, locking the standard in place for its infinity setting. If I drill another hole closer to the camera, then that should create a new infinity stop suitable for the 5x4 back.

The other benefit of using the Goerz Tenax for this project is that it has some movements as standard. There's about 4cms of rise and 2cms of lateral shift - not a huge amount but handy all the same. The Kalostigmat lens is, indeed, a convertible. I have to slide the lens standard right out to the very of the focusing rail but it does focus OK. From what I can tell, it's about the equivalent of a 105mm on the 35mm format so it must be a little over 325mm in real life. The camera was hastily bolted together for these pics. There's some finishing work to do such as trimming the "gaskets" to make them neater and tightening up the bolts holding the back to the plate and cutting their excess length off.

I'm going to put in an order to AG Photographic for some Fomapan 100 film and I'm looking forward to trying the camera out. Following an idea I read at the Film and Darkroom Users' group, I've stuck rawl plugs onto the bottom of a 10x8 developing tray to divide it into quarters so that I can develop four sheets of film at the same time. I probably wont have any results to show you for a couple of weeks - or maybe longer if the camera is leaking light like a sieve! - but stay tuned.

So that's it, then. The Tenax 54. Nifty name or what?

Click here for part one.


Anonymous said...

What is going on here! Is there something being put in the water at the moment?
I to have been looking at an old De Vere 5X4 back that has been taunting me from the back of the shelf of must do something with that someday items.
I look forward to seeing some interesting results.
Paul C.


Get yourself an old folder, Paul! Don't know what a De Vere back looks like but it's probably similar to mine and the conversion isn't difficult at all. Of course, it's possible the results from the Tenax 54 will be rubbish. In which case I'm going to start saving up for an Ebony RSW 45. Haven't revealed this plan to my better half though...

Nasir Hamid said...

Bruce, did you ever shoot any film on this rig?


Not yet Nasir. I put in an order for Fomapan 100 at AG Photographic but it wasn't in stock and I got fed up waiting after about ten weeks and cancelled it. I'll try again in a few weeks.

Morris 1800 said...

Hi Bruce silverprint advertise fomapan 100 in stock 5x4 , 20.86GBp for 50 sheets + postage. A film I have yet to try but at that price I must.


That's a very good price!