Posts tagged ‘Pacemaker’

Nikon Back

I love doing new things that require a bit of planning. As previous posts show, I have started up photography again and been a bit successful with it. I recently had a photo chosen by the Torontoist to display on their site. If you want to see the photo go here.

Anyhow, that bit of news is not what I want to write about here. In browsing Flickr I discovered a Flickr friend had produced an image using a Canon 5DmkII mounted on a Widepan sliding back attached to a Linhof 4×5″ Technika V camera with a Wollensak 11.5″ lens (see the image here) . I loved the color the lens produced and I also was attracted to the challenge of doing the same thing using my Crown Graphic. I decided I would try to attach my Nikon D80 to the camera. The fun was in the planning.

I needed a mount for the camera and Stan, at International Camera (now closed) gave me an old Nikon lens that had the mount I needed. I took the lens apart and voila, I had the adaptor. My next problem was to decide how to mount the adaptor to the Crown Graphic. I let the problem sit for a few weeks and one morning woke up with the solution. I would go to the art store and pick up a foam board that I could cut to proper dimensions and mount the adaptor on. While looking at the foam boards I saw a 5×7 canvas that artists use to paint on. It was perfect, two glued together would be just the right thickness for the Graflox back on my Crown. I bought some flat black paint and three boards and the total came to $11.

I measured the film holders and applied the measurements to the canvas, cut the canvas, found the centre location for the adaptor and cut the required hole for it. Everything worked like a charm. Actually, I was going to mount the adaptor with the lens barrel but decided to use an extension tube as a spacer for the camera and mount the adaptor fluch on the back. Here is the pre paint (I need to paint the Nikon back black) results……………

Initially I mounted the camera using a 36mm extension tube for a spacer but I couldn’t focus the camera to infinity. I stopped down the lens to f32 and this photo resulted……….

This was my very first picture using the Nikon on my Crown Graphic. Although totally out of focus I was really happy about it.

I exchanged the 36mm tube with a 20 mm one and these are the shots I took with it……….

All the above shots were with the focus on infinity so I had to test a macro shot using the same setup.

Since the Graflex uses bellows there was no reason why I couldn’t get as close as I wanted to my subject. Anyhow, the results of a closeup………………….

The lens on my Crown Graphic is Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 135 mm, a “normal” lens for 4×5. I don’t know what the focal length is when my Nikon is mounted on it but I suspect it must be around 500 or 600 mm. It was a fun project and now I need to find another one. Hmmm, maybe build a camera using an old Minolta zoom lens as a start.

May 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

Two Months Later

Well, it’s been quite the journey. In the last post I talked about my two new cameras. The Monolta Autocord and my Pacemaker Crown Graflex. I have pretty much all I need to develop my skills with these two cameras but I must admit, the large format Crown is going to be a challenge.

I have taken 2 rolls of 120 with the roll film back and both of those were a disaster. There are too many things wrong for me to begin analyzing at this time. Some of it is mechanical, either the film back or the camera. I have stopped trying to get this back to work.

The other format, for which this camera is designed, is 4 x 5. I have taken 12 shots, actually, 14 shots. I develop the sheet film in batches of 6, since that’s all my tank holds. The first batch I developed was a first on many fronts. A first using the tank system I bought, a first loading sheet film into the holders and after, into the tank holders and a first shooting with the camera. There have been 3 runs of developing and each one has been totally different from the last. In the first batch, I had two negatives that I shot and 4 that were in the holders when I received them. My two negatives turned out fine. The second batch had light leaks on ALL the negatives and the third batch , well, let’s see. I had two shots that were good, except for the minor light leak. The two middle shots were completely ruined by a major light leak and the last 2 were actually funny. I took my shot and then changed the shutter and f stop for the second shot. I did not reverse the film holder so I ended up with 1 totally blank negative and 1 double exposure. Thank goodness I was bracketing the scene with a tripod so the blur is not too bad. Anyhow, here are the examples…….

This is a photo of vertical blinds. I shot this to test the shutter and other things. It was more or less my first shot with large format and it was also the first batch of developing. Notice there aren’t ANY light leaks in this shot.

This is from my second batch. Notice the light leaks on both sides of the image. This same pattern also appeared in the third batch and I have no clue where it’s from. The contrast in this one is ok but the image is a little harsh

This image is also from the second batch with the same light leaks. In addition, the whole image is kind of a gray, Contrast is bad. The other images are more or less like this one in terms of the gray and the light leaks. Notice the light leak is the same pattern as the others

These last two images are from my third batch. Out of 6 negatives I manged to get 2 of any use. This image is great, except for the light leaks. This is the result I am looking for. Lot’s of tones, good highlights and detail in the shadows. I had a hell of a time during developing this batch. When you pour the developer into the tank you want to make sure it goes in relatively quickly. For some reason, the liquid would not go into the tank quickly enough. It took over two minutes for me to get the developer in. I extended the developing time by 30 secs and I was lucky with this negative. Note the persistent light leak again.

This is the other image that was more or less useful. It’s a double exposure and you can see from the swirls on the image that the developer didn’t get in there quick enough. It’s still a success as far as I m concerned, lol. Actually, the reason I am very pleased with these two is because of the tonal range in both of them. If I can keep producing images with these tones I will be very happy. Note the light leak again.

The Minolta is another story. I am REALLY happy with this camera. I have lot’s to learn with it but overall, I have been taking some nice photos with it AND developing the film myself. Here’s some of the results with this camera.

This was from the very first roll I shot with the Minolta and probably the reason I kept going with it.

There were LOTS of mistakes with those first few rolls and there are still mistakes being made but I am REALLY pleased with this camera.

And a little later…………

and I blew this one up to 20 by 20 and it’s still crisp and sharp……..

I can see myself giving in to the large format but never to the medium format of the Minolta. I’ll keep trying to perfect the large format and see where it goes. First thing is to figure out where that darn light leak comes from.

Until next time…………………..

April 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm 2 comments


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