Introduction: Old Fashioned View Camera

About: i am a photolab technician and an incurable packrat. i have made swords ,chainmail, crossbows.cameras,bike trailers,kayaks,guitars{slide and electric},knives,various film winders and vacum easels for the phot…

Today i am going to reverse engineer a camera i made several years ago{pre instructable era}.
This camera features solid maple construction, full tilt and shift capability,screw driven focusing rack,
and a 100 year old ebay lens.

Step 1: The Story

i like stories.
well i have always wanted a view camera but raising children puts a serious drain on ones finances especially if your career choices arent as lucrative as some so therefore i could never afford one.
many moons ago a friend of mine who shared the same wish and i got brainstorming about how to do this.
rather than put together some slapdash contraption{some experiments were tried but then scrapped}
we decided to go all out and make nice cameras.
he wanted to make a nice monorail type 4x5 camera a good choice since he has a lens from a more modern camera and some 4x5 film holders.
i wanted to make a field camera type{folding preferably but this one doesnt fold}.
the rough design was eyeballed from a 1904 reprint of the sears roebuck catalouge from the local public library and a few that i saw for sale on ebay
after working out a system to make a bellows{see previous instructable.
i bought an old lens on ebay.
what i ended up with was a beautiful little anso lens that came from a 4x5 camera{it also came with a busted shutter and a mildew problem but we got around that}.
so once the designs were chosen we needed to work out how to build it and where to score some good wood.
we decided to use a modular stick and box joint type of contruction{kinda like a pile of jenga blocks lol} as for wood my buddy had a well seasoned hunk from a maple tree under his shed.{i think it still had bark on it lol}
after much mincing planing and tablesaw work we had a pile of 1/2 x3/4 inch sticks of various lengths we also had some that were 2 x3/4 too to form the sides and other solid bits.
at this point i took my pile of popsicle sticks home and started to assemble.{note my bud has a much better equipped workshop than me and the use of his tablesaw router and planer have made most of my projects so much better. he is also better at the fit and finish department too but he never smacked me for my indifferent carpentry thanx dave}

Step 2: The Chassis

here are some pictures of the base of the camera . more details are pasted on each picture

the first picture here is the front of the chassis showing the thrust bearing for the focusing gear, the feet{from a defunct stereo} and one of my jenga box joints lol.

the second shows another view of the same part but you can see the bolt that drives the front standard forward and back.

the third fourth and fifth all show the focusing knob at the back it stared as a large bakelite knob that came from the junk bin but the first time it was turned it cracked so i took a plaster cast of it and casted it out of zinc on the end of the threaded rod i had to drive the focus.
i got the zinc while taking a walk through a former scrapyard{closed in 70s} and picking up little chunks of broken doorhandles and mirrors from 50s and 60s cars.

the sixth and seventh pics show the threaded rod passing through the shuttle block that the front standard mounts on.

the eighth pic shows the side of the shuttle block and the rails .

the ninth shows the top of the shuttle block and the bottom of the front standard

while the tenth shows the screw on feet that came from my first cd player {god rest its expensive yet shoddy soul}

Step 3: The Uprights or Standards

next step is to make a pair of uprights called standards to support the lens assembly in the front and the film and focusing screen in the back.
i made them both from the 1/2 x 3/4 inch sticks the top {no slot in it} was made from 3 pieces the sides from 2 each and the bottom was made with a slot in it so it could slide around and pivot on the mounting bolt.. for more details see each picture and the yellow notes.

Step 4: Camera Body and Bellows

im sorry i cant show good details about how the bellows attaches to the front and rear frames as i glued it in but i can describe what i did .
first thing was to make the frames they were made from the 3/4 x 2 inch blocks and were finger jointed {kinda crudley lol} i measured them up to leave enough clearance between the frame and the standards for the frames to be able to slide easily up and down in the uprights also allow room for a washer on either side as this will help when pivoting .
inside each end box a smaller box was glued in {just mitred sticks really} to give a place for the bellows to attach and fot the lens board to mount onto.
holes drilled through the both sides of the boxes have a carriage bolt put through each one which passes through a washer and out through the slot in the uprights whith a section of plastic hose to act as a roller bearing ,another washer then a wingnut complete the attachement.. again take a look at the notes they will explain in depth.

Step 5: Lens

well the lens i got for this camera came from ebay (i think i paid 15 bucks for it or something like that)
it is a nice ansco lens in about 4 inch focal length the patent date says july 23 1901 .
when the lens arrived i found one of the shutter leaves was missing and the lens had a good coating of mildew on the glass.
so i turned it over to my talented friend who has all the tools and he cleaned it up and made a new shutter leaf out of plastic which he then painted to make it lighttight.
all the speeds didnt work right but that wasnt important all i needed was for it to open and close on bulb setting.
as you can see from the pics the lens will fire with manually or with an air bulb.
the bulb is about twenty years old and was designed to fire manual SLR cameras from 30 feet i cut the hose down to two feet and slipped it right on the end.

then i took a sheet of 1/8 aluminum and cut the lensboard from it{the first test one was masonite} and drilled holes through it into the wood behind to mount it up.
the mounting rings came with the lens but if it didnt i`d have hot glued it in place or used a rope ring

Step 6: Why I Didnt Finish

i know the camera looks complete but it lacks one important feature.
and that is a system to hold the film in place and to focus on.
i did test it though.
as you can see i made a place on the back out of card board big enough to hold a polaroid film pack.
i also had a polaroid film back mated to it for a while but i had to give that back.
when i tested it i took a used film pack and a plate of glass coated with matte laquer spray as a focusing screen, then using another polaroid pack i made a black paper slide that could slide in and out.
i loaded it with graphic arts film did some test shots then tray developed it in black and white paper chemistry. the resulting image can be seen below.
after the testing shifting interests and the fact that photography as a hobby for me was too much like work.{ i was a darkroom technician at the time ,wish i had some of that gear to play with now}
i may get back at this someday and complete it if i do i will post it here.

Step 7: This Is Just a Showoff Page

here are a few pictures of some other projects ive done over the years.
i may do up instructables for some of them as time allows .
this may be something all you long time tinkerers out there might emulate.
show us pics of the stuff you made in the 70s or just last year.
this may encourage us to redo old stuff .
thanks for looking and if you see anything that your curious about just ask

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